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Cover artist: 100 Bullets; Deadpool; Punisher; Spaceman; Coffin Hill; Lucifer; Fury MAX; G.I. Joe

 

WHILE many comicbook artists start off illustrating stories before either expanding their portfolio to encompass cover art or focussing exclusively (to a greater or lesser degree) on cover work, Dave Johnson began as he intended to continue.

 

Initially credited as Crusher Dave, the artist's earliest covers were for the first four issues of Robotech: The New Generation, a 1985 Comico series for which he also drew stories in issues #2 and 4. Johnson, who'd contributed an eight-pager toMichael T Gilbert's Strange Brew (an Aardvark-Vanaheim one-shot) three years earlier, also drew 1985's Robotech: The Macross Saga #5 for Comico for which he also worked on Elementals #4 in the same year.

 

Two years later he wrote an drew an eight-pager for Paragraphics' After Apocalypse#1 (and only), moving on to Dark Horse in 1991 for a story running through five issues of the Dark Horse Presents anthology. From that point on Johnson was increasingly drawing covers (notably a run on Dark Horse's Venus Wars II manga) although his strip work was also gaining pace.

 

He illustrated an issue of The Web for DC's Impact line in 1992, the same year he worked on an Iron Man Annual for Marvel and

DC's The Demon Annual andWonder Woman Annual. In 1993 he embarked on his first ongoing project, drawing nine of the 12 issues of Chain Gang War, a DC series for which he also produced all the covers.

 

Alongside Chain Gang War Johnson also drew the covers and interiors forSuperpatriot, a 1992 Image four-parter, repeating the assignment two years later with the four-issue Superpatriot: Liberty & Justice. In between he was producing ever more covers, notably for The Machine for Dark Horse and DC's R.E.B.E.L.S..

 

Johnson's storytelling work diminished further as demand for his covers increased. Even so he continued to illustrate stories on an ad hoc basis, his credits including a four-issue run on WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams for Image's WildStorm imprint and, in 1996, the one and only issue of Marvel's Resident Evil. He also frequently contributed to anthologies, for instance writing and drawing a series of connected stories that ran across six issues of Penthouse Comix beginning 1997.

 

Two years later, Johnson produced the covers for Adventure Comics, All Star Comics, All-American Comics, National Comics, Sensation Comics, Smash Comics, Star-Spangled Comics and Thrilling Comics, a clutch of DC one-shots that set the scene for the return of the Justice Society of America. It was the artist's highest profile work up to that point but his next assignment would really make his name.

 

Before 1999 was out, he was installed as cover artist on 100 Bullets, drawing the covers for all 100 issues of the title for Vertigo, DC's mature readers imprint. Those illustrations were his main focus until 2009 although he did cover 18 2000-2001 issues of Detective Comics and make the occasional excursion out to create covers for a variety of other titles and publishers. Among his more prominent outings were an 11-issue run on Marvel's Captain America in 2004 and all eight issues of 2007's Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes II as well as all 10 issues of 2004's Bloodhound and the eight of Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters (which came along three years later) for DC. He also covered G.I. Joe, a 2004 IDW six-parter.

 

As 100 Bullets was drawing to a close, Johnson took on Punisher (subsequently retitled The Punisher: Frank Castle MAX before its 2010 relaunch asPunisherMAX) covering 37 issues of that Marvel title's various incarnations. He also went back to DC/Vertigo in 2009 to produce covers to 19 issues of Unknown Soldierwhile also covering all 12 issues of The Mighty for DC itself. For BOOM! Studios he covered the eight issues of Die Hard: Year One and the four of 2010's Cold Space.

 

Subsequently the artist created covers for Prelude to Deadpool Corps (a Marvel five-parter) before moving on to the House of Ideas' core Deadpool title for which he produced a run of 19 covers, returning in 2012 to produce another 14-issue sequence. Johnson also covered a brace of Abe Sapien minis (subtitled The Abysmal Plain and The Devil does not Jest) for Dark Horse covering the first six issues of DC's 2010 series Freedom Fighters in between.

 

In 2011 Johnson created covers for a trio of Dark Horse comics set – like Abe Sapien – in what is known as the [Mike] Mignola-verse. Alongside the three B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth titles he also covered the five-part B.P.R.D.: 1948 as well as DC's Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance three-parter. After that he once again returned to Vertigo for the nine issues of 2011's Spaceman before bouncing back to Dark Horse's Mignola-verse in 2012 for the Lobster Johnson: The Burning Handfive-parter.

 

He then covered all 13 issues of 2012's Fury MAX for Marvel for which he also produced a dozen covers for Ultimate X-Men. Next came a batch of covers for Marvel's Avengers Arena alongside which the artist once again returned to Vertigo for the eight issues of 2013's 100 Bullets: Brother Lono and to Dark Horse for theKiss Me, Satan! five-parter.

 

Johnson took on the 20 issues of Coffin Hill (another Vertigo comic) in 2013 and then, the following year, the four issues of Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. The latter was for Marvel for which, in 2015, he also covered the seven issues of Silk and the five of Inhumans: Attilan Rising with the first six of Star-Lord coming along in 2016.

 

Currently he is the cover artist on Lucifer, launched by Vertigo earlier this year.

 

Often referred to as the Reverend Dave Johnson, the artist – who was ordained a deacon in the Methodist Church in the late '90s – has worked for all the major comicbook publishers as well as a large number of the smaller ones. His art has adorned a multitude of comics and he is increasingly in demand for variant covers and pin-ups.

 

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Thanks SM! Great guest! I can get him to sign my copy of that great Strange variant cover you have up there, hehe :)

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